Condemn Taliban’s Ban, But Will Not Imperil Humanitarian Wellbeing of Afghans, Says US

Wednesday, 01/04/2023

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the US strongly condemns the Taliban’s ban on women working for non-government organisations, but they will respond in a way that protects the humanitarian interests of the Afghan people.

He said that the US is vetting options that will allow them to maintain a strong, principled position as the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

He stressed that they want to maintain this stance while also preventing the humanitarian situation from deteriorating even further as a result of the difficult operating environment the Taliban have created.

Price was referring to the Taliban’s latest decree on December 24, the Taliban issued the edict barring humanitarian organisations from working with women, barring female employees of national and international nongovernmental organisations from the workplace.

Ned Price said that this decision puts at risk millions of Afghans who depend on humanitarian assistance for their very survival and called on the Taliban to urgently reverse this harmful decision.

“As long as the Taliban is not able to fulfill these commitments, we will respond in a way that registers our strong condemnation while continuing to support the Afghan people. And we’re going to be very careful not to do anything that could further imperil the humanitarian well-being of the Afghan people,” Price said.

He said that the Taliban announced it on Christmas Eve because the group thought that Western nations would have been distracted by the Christmas holiday and would have been slow in responding. However, we continued with swift condemnation against this outrageous decision, he added.

“We are monitoring the evolving situation very closely, the impacts that this edict has had and may potentially yet have, and we’re in constant contact with UN and NGO partners on the state of their operations in Afghanistan,” the US state department spokesperson stated.

The US also noted that the ban is already significantly impeding humanitarian actors’ ability to deliver vital and lifesaving assistance to millions, and has forced some organisations to pause their operations.

This comes even as the Taliban continue to demonstrate their contempt for the welfare and the rights and freedoms of the Afghan people, particularly women and girls, and their disinterest in normal relations with the international community.

We are committed to helping to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people, who are the victims of the Taliban’s own harmful policies, and we are looking at what specific consequences can be labeled – can be levied against the Taliban to register our condemnation – again, doing so in coordination with allies and partners.

Price emphasised that there will be a response from the United States regarding the Taliban’s repeated breaking of commitments on human rights, formation of an inclusive government and other issues.

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